Now that I have officially paid taxes to the state of New York – a whopping $20 – I’ve decided to weigh in on statewide politics. A primary race is well underway for the Democratic nomination for the governor’s race.

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is the “sexy” choice for the position. He has a track record of eliminating corporate raiders on Wall Street and is in lockstep with NARAL-Pro Choice America’s orthodoxy regarding abortion rights. Therefore, he will appeal to voters who are comfortable with giving their vote to mass abstractions, who really don’t care to research the candidates before an election.

Nonetheless, Upstate New York can’t afford to see the governor’s seat filled this way. Our state has fallen victim to the dangerous influence of party machines and politicians with no vested interest in improving the sad condition of state-wide politics.

Tom Suozzi, though, is a refreshing departure from the machines that have torn this state apart. His entrance into politics is reflective of a maverick character against repressive party organizations – he ignored county party leaders when he decided to run in a primary for Nassau County Executive, handily beating the puppet they divined and going on to win in the general election.

Suozzi went on to turn a painfully mismanaged county government into one of the nation’s finest. This achievement is one storyline that I, as a resident of New York, would love to see replayed at a state-wide level. In fact, he is instrumental in the “Fix Albany” campaign, which will doubtless put many of the initiatives used in his county to a statewide level.

Perhaps taking out corporate raiders is nice for photo-ops and glowing reviews from the New York Times ed board, but in terms of running a government from an executive’s position, it really does not compare to Suozzi’s experience of saving his county from bankruptcy.

However, many aren’t comfortable with Suozzi’s mentality toward politics. The cowards who populate this state’s political machines, from party hacks at the Democratic state committee to radical feminists from the abortion rights lobby, have discouraged Democrats from supporting Suozzi for one simple reason – their existence is threatened by his candidacy.

Without having a mouthpiece at the helm of the state, Democrats will be unable to get cushy state government jobs or see their rigid dogma made into law. These are the people who have completely ignored everyone north and west of Albany, cold and calculating types who feel that, since they have enough votes south of Westchester to stay in power, they can write off the other millions of New Yorkers and stand idly by as Upstate New York languishes for years to come.

My Italian grandfather told my mother, when in doubt, to vote for anyone with an “o or an i” at the end of their last name. Instead of being a trite example of Italian ethnocentrism, New York’s future depends on that rule.

Scott can be reached

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